Auto Sales Prices Rise Slightly in December

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Carmakers, on average, were able to make an extra $197 for each vehicle sold in December. The average sales price for a light vehicle rose 0.6% to $32,890, up from $32,769 in November. Sales prices rose by more than $1,000 month-over-month in November.

However, sales prices declined $159 compared with December 2012 prices.

The largest gain was posted by Volkswagen, with a month-over-month rise of 1.8% and a rise of 4.1%, compared with December of 2012. The not so good news for VW is that sales are down nearly 7% in 2013.

A senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book (KBB), which released the data Friday morning, said, “Along with solid new-car sales, average transaction prices on new vehicles continue to strengthen this year.”

That is not true for all the automakers however. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) saw its average price rise 0.5% month-over-month, but the year-over-year price is down 2.5%, from a year-ago average of $35,330 to $34,444. The drop is likely due in large part to a decline of 1.3% in the December selling price of the company’s F-150 pickups. KBB notes that Ford’s hybrid and all-electric vehicles saw price increases of 1.5% and 1%, respectively.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) saw prices rise a modest 0.2% month-over-month and 0.5% year-over-year. GM’s big boost came from its redesigned Sierra pickups, with a price rise of 4.4% year-over-year. The company’s Buick brand saw its average price fall by 4.9% following the introduction of a less-expensive model of its Encore crossover.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) also posted month-over-month and year-over-year price gains of 0.6% and 1.8%, respectively. A redesigned Corolla contributed a hefty 6.3% price increase and a new Lexus model added a boost of 7.9%. All Toyota’s brands were able to post a price increase for the year.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) showed a drop of 0.1% in month-over-month pricing and a gain of 2.5% year-over-year. Prices for the company’s Acura line rose 10.8% year-over-year.

Chrysler posted a 1.2% month-over-month gain and a 2.4% gain year-over-year. The redesigned Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler added 2.5% to the company’s price mix, and even the Chrysler 200 was able to hike prices by 2.2%.

Nissan has had a tough year in the United States, with year-over-year pricing down 1.2%. Compared with November, however, prices rose 1% in December.